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ACC issues lockdown challenge to BOP

A boy mowing lawns for an older couple. Photo: ACC.

ACC is challenging the Bay of Plenty to ‘Have a Hmmm’ during lockdown and think about the risk of injury at home.

Since Covid-19 hit our shores, New Zealanders have changed the way we live and work and ACC is stressing the importance of keeping our bubbles a safe place.

"We want people to be doing the things that they love at home,” says Isaac Carlson, the Head of Injury Prevention at ACC. “But we also want to collectively change our mindset on preventing injury so we can get through this period without serious injury.”

Injury can have life-changing impacts – for those who sustain the injury, their whānau and society. Every day ACC receives around 5,000 claims. That’s 5,000 families and communities impacted by injury every day.

The home is the most likely place for New Zealanders to get injured.

There were 4.9 million claims for injuries around the home accepted by ACC from 2016 – 2020, which cost $5.6 billion to help people recover.

In 2020, there were just over one million claims accepted, which came at a cost of $1.4 billion to help people recover, an increase of $143 million from 2019.

The cost and the number of home injuries in 2020 was the highest in the past five years in New Zealand and Bay of Plenty.

In the Bay of Plenty in this period, there were 364,336 new claims for injuries around the home, which cost $382 million to help people recover. There were 75,159 injuries in 2020, which cost $96 million, the highest number of injuries and cost for any year in this period.

Carlson acknowledged that it’s a challenging time for many New Zealanders but stressed the importance of identifying the risk of injury.

“We know it’s chaos for many families out there,” he says. “Trying to work from home and manage a family during a lockdown is not an easy time so we all need to acknowledge that.

“But it’s important to think about risk during this period so we can decrease the number and the severity of injuries.”

On average, one in five New Zealanders will injure themselves in their home, which is a statistic that ACC wants to change.

"We're challenging all New Zealanders to 'Have a Hmmm'. Take a moment to think about what you're about to do and what could go wrong to prevent injury,” says Carlson.

He says taking a pause for a few seconds can save days, weeks, months or a lifetime of harm and hurt – for the person and others.

Carlson recommended making small and simple behaviour changes in your bubble: tidying up toys, keeping floors clear of cables and other items, wiping up any spills immediately, ensuring everyone knows how to safely interact with animals and what to do if they see a hazard.

It’s estimated around 90 percent of all accidents are predictable and therefore preventable, and ACC want to see New Zealanders be safer at home.

The 50-59 year-olds age group are most likely to be injured at home ahead of the 0-9 age group.

Females have a higher proportion of claims than males, but males have a higher proportion of the cost.

Here are the seven ways New Zealanders are hurting themselves at home.

1. Falls

Falls are often attributed to older age groups but they happen at any age. The most affected age group for fall injuries is 0-9 years old.

With 1.6 million new claims over the last five years, falls are the leading cause of injuries in the home.

In the past five years there were 118,417 new claims for fall injuries at home in the Bay of Plenty and there were 25,276 falls injuries at home in 2020, the highest for this period.

While falls are the most common injury at home, they are also the most preventable. Safekids Aoteroa have a Whare Kahikā app giving whānau knowledge to create a safe physical home environment for tamariki. For over 65s, ACC runs Live Stronger for Longer, an injury prevention programme to prevent falls and fractures.

2. Lifting and Carrying

Lifting and carrying injuries occur when a load is too heavy, it’s difficult to grasp, or it’s too large so the physical effort is too strenuous.

Those in the 30-39 age group are most likely to have a lifting or carrying injury, and they’re most commonly injuring their lower back.

With over 620,000 new claims in the last five years, both how we lift and how much we’re lifting really affects our health.

In the Bay of Plenty in the past five years there were 47,319 injuries caused by lifting and carrying. In 2020 in the Bay of Plenty there were 10,550 lifting / carrying injuries at home which was the highest for this period.

Taking a moment to prepare your body for what you are about to do and think about correct form. Read TBI Health’s guide to manual lifting.

3. Animal-related

Children from 0-9 years old lead this injury and are most commonly suffering bites and scratches from their cuddly companions.

ACC accepted over 325,000 new claims for animal-related injuries at home over the last five years, our young ones are learning how to build a relationship with their furry friends the hard way.

There were 22,752 animal related injury claims at home in the Bay of Plenty over the past five years and 4,868 injury claims of this nature in 2020, the highest of this period.

Use lockdown as a chance to teach how to interact safely with animals in your home.

4. Gardening

Kiwis love to get in the garden all year round and lockdowns are a great chance to tidy up the backyard.

The 60-69 year-old age group are most commonly injured in the garden, and they’re hurting their lower back the most.

Over the past five years there have been 26,707 gardening related injury claims accepted in the Bay of Plenty, with 5,502 gardening injuries in the Bay of Plenty in 2020, the highest for this period. Check out our home safety checklist.

5. Puncture and cuts

Punctures are the fifth-most common injury at home and one that many of us know well is the knife cut.

Our fingers and thumbs are most commonly suffering, and the kids who are having a go in the kitchen are the ones hurting themselves the most from ages 0-9.

There were 23,808 puncture injuries in the Bay of Plenty in the past five years and 5,491 in 2020, the highest for this period. Tips for staying safe in the kitchen.

6. Twisting movement

Putting our back out is a common injury, and for the 50-59 year-olds this happens a lot in their lower back.

There have been over 282,000 new claims for twisting injuries over the last five years.

In the Bay of Plenty there were 21,363 twisting injuries over this period, with 4207 in 2020.

ACC recommends taking a moment to think about the consequences of pushing your body too far. Tips for working from home.

7. Collision/knocked over

During lockdown it is common for children to run around the house and collide into objects or walls.

Children, in the 0-9 year-olds age bracket, are most-commonly injured in collision and they injure their hands as they go down.

Over the past five years there have been over 250,000 new claims for collision injuries in New Zealand. In the Bay of Plenty there were 20,025 collision injuries in the past five years and 3.573 in 2020.

ACC recommends that we slow down, take care around corners and between rooms to prevent injury.

ACC – Home injuries in Bay of Plenty 2016 – 2020 fact box

· In the Bay of Plenty in this period, there were 364,336 new claims for injuries around the home, which cost $382 million to help people recover.

· In 2020 there were 75,159 injuries which cost $96 million, the highest number of injuries and cost for any year in this period. · For more information on injury prevention at home visit: Staying safe in your home (acc.co.nz)

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